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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  March 13, 2011 7:00am-8:00am EDT

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kids and what is to be done with them and i initially began looking at popular culture and representation of youth then i became dissatisfied with at and decided i needed to look at the real kids and policies and institutions that affected them. >> host: after all of your research where did they go from here? there's a lot that has changed as we sit here the legislature is considering abolishing the agency that oversees juvenile justice several were shut down as i was finishing the book. a lot of kids have been sent back to their communities and there is a movement away from institutions and to community-based facilities. that is being driven by the budget crisis affecting many states across the country
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including texas that has 27 n. billion-dollar deficit to deal with. that is fuelling a lot of this movement in some ways >> booktv has 48 hours of nonfiction authors and book programming every weekend. y to getou the complete weekend schedule e-mailed to you every week, sign up for the booktv alert at or text the word book to 99702. standard message and data rates apply. booktv every weekend on c-span2. >> booktv will be covering the virginia festival of the book live online on thursday, march 17th and friday, march 18th. we'll be airing several events on each of those days live online, and here's a look at our schedule.
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>> you can watch all of these programs live online as they're happening at the virginia festival of the book in charlottesville, virginia. go to and click on the watch icon. >> we're back with booktv's live coverage of the third annual tucson festival of books. you're looking at the gallagher theater on the campus of the
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university of arizona as our final event of the day prepares to begin. a in justs a moment, a panel on human rights and the border. it's booktv live from the 2011 tucson festival of books. [inaudible conversations] >> okay, everybody, if you can take your seat, we're ready to get started. hi, everybody, and welcome to the third annual tucson festival of books on the campus of the university of arizona on this beautiful march 12, 2011. and a special welcome to folks all over the world who are joining us on c-span's booktv. my name's jay rochlin, and i
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have the pleasure of welcoming you to the panel, dispatches from the borderlands, human rights, personal stories. i will also in a moment have the honor of introducing our wonderful authors who will make up this panel. first, i'd like to thank the organizers of the tucson festival of books, all the the sponsors and, in particular, university medical center for sponsoring this venue.sori we've got an hour for our discussion, and here's how it'sr going to work. i'm going to say just a few words to welcome and introduce our panelists. i've prepared some questions fos them just to get our discussiono going, and hopefully, you'llg have some questions, also, later on. i'll invite you to make your way up to one of the two to microphones, one here, one there, where you'll have a chance to askmi about what's, maybe, on your mind. right after our discussion, the authors will go to the signing area and set up in the maddenn media signing area number one, tent b, and they'll be happy toy continue our discussion with you
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one-on-one and even more happy to sign a book that you buy either out here in the foyer or at the signing area. this session features three books and five authors.ok two of thes authors are journalists, one's a dancer and film maker, one's a businessman and restauranteur, and another's a physician. they all share a deep commitment to telling true stories. thr they all came to their common path that we're going to hear about. one of the three books thate we're going to be talking abouto today, it opens with a nine-lin poem by leslie socco who's here. not with us, but doing her ownig thing out in theht mall. if i can read it to you just to get us to see where these folkso are coming from, all of them. i will tell you something about stories, he said, they aren't just entertainment, don't be
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fooled. they are all we have, you see, and all we have to fight off illness and death. you don't have anything if you don't have the stories. now, i'm honored to introduce five authors who have found, digested, interpreted, written and shared powerful stories thap matter. margaret regan wrote the death of roast lean, immigration stories from the mexico/arizona borderlands. margaret writes for the tucsont weekly and has won a dozen awards for reporting, two of awa them national. she also writes about the arts and stories about the irishtori immigrant experience. she lives in tucson. sam quinn krone necessary is the author of "true tales fromru anothere mexico: the lynch mob, the popsicle kings and the bronx. and also "ann toni krone' gun,"
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true tales of migration. he's writing for the los angelel times. just a couple of kudos about him, the san francisco chronicle called him the most original american writer on the borderan and mexico out there. the l.a. times book review said over the last 15 years he has filed the best dispatches about the effect on the united statesb and mexico. he and his family live inn southern california.n catherine forget is the co-author of crossing with the virgin, stories from the migran trail. she's also a dancer, dan choreographer and independent film maker. she's produced and directed two feature-length award-winningdo documentaries, "rita of the sky." she's a native tiew zonean, and she's volunteered since 2004.
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parks spent most of his career in the restaurant business.eca he became involved with the samaritans movement, and nora price moved to tucson after a 25-year career in medicine in atlanta where she was ann encologist.nta she's lived here for just over 13 years. norma volunteers at a local medical clinic and for the uninsured and also with the als samaritans. thank you guys for being here and welcome to all of you. >> thank you. >> good discussion. [applause] margaret, let me start with you. are you mainly an arts editorto and a writer, you covered art openings, you covered ballet, how did your interest inou immigration issues start and get you into this whole world? >> okay, yeah. i've been in the art center at the tucson weekly, but i've also done general assignment l
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reporting, and i had done a lot about downtown development, i did a story about urban renewal which was focused on the hispanic population.ound but around the year 2000 i first started -- and all of us firstth started hearing about the death of migrants in the arizona desert. probably some of you know thatou the federal government had more or less shut down the urban crossings in san diego and el i paso, suddenly we were getting a lot of migrants coming to the places in between which was arizona, and we were starting to see a large number of deaths. so at an editorial meeting inn tucson weekly, i said, you know, we have to cover this. we're the long-form journalism paper closest to the border, it's our duty to cover this. and being a small paper and being short staffed -- [laughter]th suddenly, the assignment was y mine. why don't you cover it? so i said i was happy to. and they sent me down to douglas
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for several years in southeastern arizona which was then kind of the immigrant highway into the united states.t and it was a very shocking experience for me to go down there and see the helicopters and see the border patrol everywhere up and down the roads arresting people. and while i was there, i did a ride-along with the border patrol and had the opportunitywh to interview i a man whose o cousin had died in his arms a wh few hours earlier this day. h they were from guatemala, and that man told me the story of their long and ultimately tragie journey. and that story that that man told me really changed my life.t and moved me tremendously. and ever since i have tried to cover immigration whenever i cai while still upholding my other duties at the tucson weekly. so that's how it got started. >> thanks, sam, you said your whole career's reporter, yet the way
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you've written your two books ii kind of anything but just the facts ma'am kind of approach. could you talk about why youout chose to use real stories about real people to shed light on thd immigration issues? >> well, mainly because i think the topic just naturally lends itself to that.nds if you want to think about it, i mean, you're talking about probably the largest massnt o movement of people from onerges country to another in the last century. coming from a geography, a culture, traditions radically different than our own, coming to a place that they have really no knowledge of. it's like, you know, i mean, these are kind of o disyus type stories sometimes, so i see that every immigrant has, has these mag miff sent -- i began to seee that every immigrant has these magnificent stories within him or her. i also, however, believe that as
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a reporter and really as as storyteller you have to not blink when the stories reflect, say, poorly on someone who might people want to view as kind of i noble figure.o and that's why a lot of myfi stories i really try hard to not avoid the blemishes. i did a story about zeus garcia who was kind of like the michael jordan of indian basketball in the mountains of oaxaca, and he was now a busboy up in l.a. and had made that trip, and he came with this deep desire to teach americans about the true purity of basketball which he knew thal we did not because we had corrupted it with the nba -- [laughter] and he, this is really his point of view, basically. but along the way, so he had al this great kind of mission, thit great obsession to teach use of about the real way basketball should be played and to maked sure the eau hack can indians t did not pervert it once they got
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here. but along the way he ignored his wife, he probably beat one ofife them, i think, his kid who he named earvin, right, for earvin, "magic" johnson --of [laughter] he didn't attend to him as well as he could.d to still, the man was a remarkable figure. it's this kind of deepit complexity and humanity and that i loved about the immigrantout stories that also lend themselves to what you're asking about which is the long form tradition of stories. you want to tell a real, full story, and that also requires endless amounts of energy almost.s i mean,of really, really, lots d lots and lots of interviewing. a two or three-hour interview it not enough. you're talking about days d sometimes, and repeating. what i would often do with a lot of immigrants is do an interi in view two, three hours, come
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back, maybe another two and then come back a week later after i'd had time to think about it, knock it around in my brain, had written some aboutw it, new question come out of the writing always. and from that i had a whole other set of questions, you know? and then began to think of how i might tell such a tale. i really believe that storyve telling you have to start thinking of how would you tellat this orally sometimes, you know? well, how would you begin it? what way would you bring the people in, you know? and some stories naturally tell themselves. other you really, really need to dig down into people because a lot of people don't -- will tell you certain things but won'tut tell you the full truth. i think, for example, lots and lots of people -- i've met p numerous immigrants now. i really think this is the second leading cause of peopleep coming to the unite is murder. and i'm not talking about the latest stuff in the last few years. i'm talking about murder is one
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of the few reasons why people w from the northwest of mexico have -- escaping murder, not wanting to be killed, familyily feuds. you need to dig down, and the de only way to truly tell those st stories is the level -- >> thank you, that's great. katherine, you came out of fine arts as a dancer, teacher, film maker. you began volunteering, and what i'm curious about is how you came to choose a book, "written words" with hardly any pictures as opposed to one of the numerous other avenues of expression that you've beenhol exposed to your whole life.eq >> because there's not so much equipment. [laughter] really. i'm from tucson, so i would go to and from mexico my entire we would cross the worlder, there was a wire -- border, there was a wire, but we wouldod just step over, and i would go
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visit my friends, or we'd go through the port of entry. so i have a lot of friends there, and they're fabulous people. the some maybe a little bit less so, but some very fabulous. when i joined with samaritans, with my friend here, i was justt appalled at the deaths that we would see out there, you know, like for the last decade it's been called the decade of death. i mean, there are so many people who don't make it through theat. desert. so i decided to start writing the stories with my friendst wr here, and what i wanted to dowht was in word i just wanted to make a connection to the w interior life of somebody who was crossing. and we would meet people, we do meet people on the trails or in the hospital, and as sam said, you really need to talk tom s somebody for, oh, about five years before you really know them. [laughter] so we would have maybe, maybe just an hour or 15 minutes on a
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desert trail, or some people i'd meet in the hospital, and weand would talk for several days. in that situation i would writet down stories, and as we're talking, i would ask them prettl intimate questions and after ame while, you know, t very immediate. you know, i haven't been in a war, but i have met people who are quite ill out in the desert, and there's nothing extraneous. so you talk very spencely, veryu quickly -- intensely, very quickly. for example, one man was on a o train, and he got his foot crushed. and so i asked if i could write his story, and then i went to the place where it happened soa it's in the desert near the railroad tracks, and i sat out there because the man sat there for five days. he couldn't walk, and he didn't know, you know, how to get anywhere. and so i just sat out there for a few, like, a day, and i took a picnic lunch, and i just startec writing down how terrified i
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would w be. and so i decided to use words. >> okay, thank you. i saw some of you cringe when she talked about the crushed foot. the photograph, thank goodness, is in black and white in the book. it made me cringe also. norma, you've spent your whole high as a physician, most of itl as an encologist, and in that capacity i imagine you've been part of teams that have saved lots of lives, but you've alsomy had too many experiences where you felt help he is, and the cancer won, the patient died.ent even though the cancer ward andt the desert couldn't be more different, i wonder if you coulo tell us about how being aeing medical perp either did or -- person either did or didn't prepare you for volunteering as a samaritan. >> one of the things that was fortuitous was when for a shortn time before i moved to arizona when i got -- >> can you move the mic up a tiny bit closer?it >> i practiced urgent care
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medicine which is like family medicine. so that broad spectrum helpedsp prepare me a great deal. and i'd always had a place many my heart for -- in my heart for the underdog, the disenfranchised. and when i saw the reports of all the people dying in the desert, i felt like something had to be done. l i came to learn that theseese people were noble, strong people who had accomplished a lot and because of circumstances in their home state, they had to come up here to support their family and to be able to eat and send their children to school. but we kept seeing more and more medical problems in addition to the deaths. there were a lot of people that were sent to the hospital. as katherine mentioned, the man who had his foot crushed. there are a lot of people who come from southern mexico and w
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central america, and they ride the a and they're not in the club car. they're riding on top of the train or on the side of theridi train. and we have stories about this in our book. and katherine tells a story about people riding on the side of the train. one of margaret's stories in margaret's book talks about argr pregnant woman who rode on the side of the train. so there are a lot of injuries there, but then there are a lots of medical problems as well because dehydration is the number one medical issue we see in the desert. we see people with severe blisters, and when you talk about misters, it's not like you've hiked five miles and got a bad blister on the back of your heel. these are like burns. so all of these medical problems kept unfolding, and as i have been with the samaritans now since 2002, i feel like i've been able to continue my medical expertise and continue my medical practice in a new way. p
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>> yeah, thank you. ted, let's hear from you. i'm making some assumptions here, but anyway,.coming out of the -- coming out of thehere restaurant business with i would imagine you've probably had a whole lot of one-on-one contact with undocumented people before you began to volunteer. learning about their families, u their lives, working the foodint line together, hearing their crossing stories. if that's the case, how did that motivate you to begin your volunteer service and then tonte write your parts of crossing, seeing these real folks you work with. >> um -- >> well, first of all, is myaccu assumption accurate? did you work with undocumented people in the restaurant? >> yes. i got in the restaurant business in '35, and most anybody -- '85, and most anybody who works in a restaurant has met somebody that's undocumented, that's a migrant. i owned a restaurant here in tucson for eight years and hired
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many -- knowingly hired manyy undocumented migrants. the business community really does not want the flow of migrants to discontinue. because it's such a big part of business. these people worked really hard, and they work really cheap. and i took advantage of that ann so does a good portion of business in america. you can get somebody to work for minimum wage and work anrk eight-hour shift and take a half an hour break and work really hard, and you use that person.n, so i don't know that i would say i'm guilty of it, but maybe -- yeah, i'm guilty of it. and i all felt that when i came to this work after i sold my restaurant and came to this ca work, suddenly what i had heard
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my employee or fellow workers say came to the forefront, and i really saw that they had many times risked their lives to come to the united states to work.te and in most cases they just want to work. they don't want to live here, they want to earn money, send it home and go home. but what's happened down on the border now makes it very difficult for these people to it f >> thanks. and that's actually a good lead-in to my next question for sam.qu sam, in addition to the gripping stories of individuals in your books, you make a point that not a whole lot of authors on this side of the border get into, that point being that migration from latin america isn't just about undocumented people in u.s. cities. it has profound effects south of the worder also, and that came through loud and clear in your
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books. how did you become aware ofno's that, and why did you decide tot broaden the context of yourbroa stories to include what's goingg on south of the border also? >> the first trip i went down to mexico to study spanish for three months, you know? i ended up staying for tenfor years. i went down there, my spanish was okay, but it wasn't goodgh enough to be a reporter. along the way a guy -- a friend of mine from the town of stockton where i'd been a crime reporter for several years invited me to go to his town'sws annual fiesta. and as it turned out, everybody in that town was either living in stockton or chicago or indianapolis or dallas, i believe, those cities. or l.a. as well. and so that first week i wandered around, and it was there that i just understood that, began to understand, i should say, it began a kind of a ten-year trek through the immigrantville annals of mexico -- villages of mexico.
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first of all, focusing on the houses, the nature of mexican immigration, the proximity, the dollar, all that stuff has created a massive urban renewal, essentially, in lot and lot ofas villages where people build houses for year, decades because there's no mortgages for poor people or folks that -- mortgages they can afford. so they would get into these, build their houses all with the idea of at some point, you know, 20, 30, 40 years down the road they're going to retire and go back to that house, right?s th and that' a central point to their life. and in the end, it nevert ne happens.ens. it's one of these great, kind of poignant ironies, kind of like a chekhov novel. h when the house is finished,ready to t be lived in, he realizes hd not going home. he's god kids, he's got grand kid, he's used to the services of the united states, he doesn't want his brother -- his brother
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was kidnapped last time they went down, all kind of things like that, and people stop going.ike so it was in this town that igon began to understand these huge changes on the mexican side.he i also began to understand one very important thing about immigration i think is really true and certainly in mexico,mei and that is immigration from mexico does almost nothing to change the reasons why people leave for that region. it changes the circumstances for the family, for the individual immigrant and his family, what have you, but you can go to allt these different immigrant areass and you will see over and over and over no jobs, millions of dollars have come down in remittances to these areas, and there is no work. the and there's a good reason for that.for it's because there are people are used to wages up in the united states, right? people aren't going to be working, people are gone. the best people are gone, the real lifeblood is up here, not p down in those
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ande all of this kind of became very clear to me as i kind of wandered from village to village talking to people over the ten years i lived down there and talking to people up here as p back then and since. that the effect is we see it upt here, and it's got all kind ofiu controversial effects, positive and negative as ted was saying. there is a whole other change down in mexico, and one is to continue -- once a village starts immigrating, there's almost nothing else to do except immigrate because the cost of living rises due to the dollars. everyone else -- who wants to be the loan -- these are the kind of stories i love, who wants ton be the lone 16-year-old when everybody has gone to the unitea states, worked in dallas, phoenix, l.a., come home with amazing stories about all the women and the cars and the jobs, who wants to be the lone
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16-year-old who doesn't do that? that is a real big draw too. i remember a lot of times talking with guys, why'd you go? [speaking spanish] so that no one tells me about it anymore. one [laughter] so i have my own stories. talking about stories? that's why. >> thank you.ta i'd like to turn our discussion toie the writing process just a little bit. margaret, reading the titlearre chapter of your book, you make us feel that we were in the desert with the young girl justl feeling the cold, shivering with her. your detail in that and so many of your other stories are just so incredibly powerful. and i was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how you find your details and why you decide to include and, for that matter, why you decide to leave out. >> i'll focus on the title stort in my book, it's the true tale of a 14-year-old girl from el salvador who passed through ints
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arizona just about three years ago now and fell ill and was left behind by her coyote and everyone else in her group. she was traveling with her little brother to get to her mother in los angeles, and the brother cried and wanted to stay her, and she told him toos continue. so she was left behind, and nobody found out about this until the little boy arrived safely in l.a. three days latere and had to tell his mother that she t was back in the desert. her body was found three weeks later by a young no more death volunteer from tucson. i first found out about her when i went to camp out at the no more death camp. most of you in tucson, anyway,ou know that they have a camp where they go every summer to just sort of be there in the desert to help people in trouble. and so they, when i went down there to catch out with them to find out what they were doing,d they took me out to the trail
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where she had died.rese so i ended up hiking the trail that she had i sat by the rocks where her body was found. and i thought that i reallyi wanted to write about her.had most of the stories in my book are people that aye been able to talk to myself, and this one waa particularly challenging because she was dead. and her parents, her mother did not want to talk to the press. so i had to use other means tonn get those kind of details that you're talking about. i, so as i said, i hiked the canyon, and i was able todesc describe the place where she was. i interviewed the young man who found her, and his emotional response and his view of her body and her body had been out there for three weeks, and he did tell me, he said, i'm not going to tell you what it looked like. i don't want that ever to be to written about. but i was able the describe his
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situation.cribe one of the big places i gotsitu information about her was here at our pima county medical examiner's office. i went to visit dr. bruce parks. who, you know, does the autopsies, and i was able to obtain through a public recordst request all the information in her autopsy file be.atio and to read those autopsy files is heartbreaking. it detail every garment thatng little girl had on. she had on a little bracelet, she had on a black jacket with a silky pink lining. she had on a pair of sweat panta that saidd hollywood on the but, they're called butt pants, and be that was actually one of the ways she was identified becausew the people who knew that she was out there and were looking foroe her knew that. her so gatt withering together -- and i have to tell you, that was very wrenching for me just e motionally reading about her effects. this is a child that died right
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here in our state. so to put that story together, i tried to imagine -- and, really, it's the only story in my book in which i kind of really had to imagine and didn't just rely on people telling e me. i found the weather data for the days that she was out there, and i knew that she had gotten sick, and so i knew it was cold. it was a january with day, so it was -- when she was abandoned, that whole wee sk in january had been chilly and had been so i imagined her walking down that trail shivering, and i knew that she had gotten sick, and i imagined what it was like for her knowing, you know, she's got to keep going. she's trying to get to her mother in l.a., but she's too sick to go, and she finally hasi to tell the coyote, i can't go any further. it's the things that move me ass a mother, as a human being. the tiny details that bring you the humanity of this littlehe
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girl. the hollywood pants were especially heartbreaking to me because she knew that her mom lived in l.a., and here she is v this 14-year-old kid, and i can imagine she thought,an oh, how cool, i'm going to wear my hollywood pants when i arrive in the land of the movie stars. and to think of that life snuffed out is hard, and so i try to put those details in just so that people can think of here as an individual and as somebody's child and as a personality. you try to get as many details as you can as a writer. you can't always get as many as that, but, yeah, so that was kind of an unusual way to put all those things together.unus oh, and the other thing i had for that story was the local activists and a very wonderful t local priest named father bob carney hiked out many there to b have ao funeral mass for you inn where with she died. her parents couldn't come because they're illegal, and they were afraid to come.
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and he told me the story of how her aunt and uncle were there, and they were the first ones up the canyon. when they walked up the canyon l and they got to the place where she had died -- and they knew that was the spot because there was already a shrine, he said, a wail came down the canyon. the aunt and the uncle just started wailing to see the placl where she had died and to see her photo there, and the sort of combination of guilt and sorrow that they felt. so i put all that in there, all that detail. >> thanks, margaret. katherine, let me ask you a question for all three of you. you, norm and ted, all three of you, are volunteers, and you'vea demonstrated your commitment to helping immigrants for nearly aa decade, and you're not professional journalists and authors like sam and margaret. yet at the same time, your book doesn't read like either a tract or a call to arm, and you don't prescribe or demand solutions od
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reform, you just simply tell real stories about real people that you've encountered on theeo my grant trail. so i'm wondering if this on yout parts was a conscious decision, and if so, how did you come to that decision as opposed to writing a straight manifesto or something? >> well, we, we came about it a little bit differently, each one of us writes differently. >> uh-huh. >> but we wanted to keep ourselves out of it. and i especially wanted to keep us out of it and have the stories be about the people that we encounter. and in the process of making the book, you know, the university press felt that the book should have certain things, so we did add prefaces and a little bit of history and everything. but for the most part i think ip was a matter of trying to talk about people that we encountered in sort of an unadulterated way be but that was pretty hard to u do because you're so emotionally
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involved with -- it's soolve immediate out there. when you're out on the trails or this story that margaret was just saying, i actually went to that service. and -- out in the desert. and her aunt was, the girl's aunt was riding in the back of a pickup truck, and to get out to this location where her body was found we had to go in four-wheel drive vehicles, and people were just packed into the back of these trucks. the mother wasn't -- the aunt, i mean, was in front of me. and i watched her over the 40 minutes or however long it took to get out there. we were already at that camp. and i saw her face just cave and crumble and come apart becauseed she had no idea, and the family had no idea what the terrain was the people were going and so it was, you know, the just, i mean, if you're there
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for a nice reason, it's th absolutely stunning, gorgeous country. but the truth is there's nothing this. there's fog this, and therether was -- nothing there, and there was a little girl's body there. so when the aunt got out of the truck and then the man said,s thisuc is where her shoe was, se just threw her body, you know?hw rhyme from a kind of undemonstrative family, and she just really threw her body into the dirt and started hitting thi ground and wailing. and it was one of the most gr horrible things i've ever seen.n so, i mean, they have to speak for themselves. but as a group we just decided as much as we could to try to keep ourselves out of it and try to tell these stories because these are horrific stories.ies >> sam and margaret, both of you briefly -- did you want to say something? >> i was just wanting to say we wanted to give a voice to the migrants, and they can't tell their stories.ries where they are headed, the direction that they're going,
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the places they end up, they can't describe what they've been through. we wanted to give them a voice. and tell their stories for them, >> great, thanks. yeah, sam and margaret, i want to ask you almost the oppositet question. you've both talked about it, especially sam earlier about --e or both of you, how much time o your need to spend with somebody to tell their stories to get ito out of them. you can't help but to connect with people. people tell you things that maybe they've never shared with anybody ever. sh how as professional reporters can you stay dispassionate and just report, or for that matter, do you, and does it matter? >> i don't think you need to stayty passionate. e.ispassionate. i've never felt that way about reporting, and i have found, actually, when i meet these people in crisis, i can actually do something to help them which is listening to them. jay and i together, actually, were on a story where we were,
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we went out with four star which is the border patrol agency w that's the s.w.a.t. team, you know, for search and rescue. and we went out to sort of do a story s on them, and no sooner e were this truck with the guy for about half an hour, and he got a call that this dangerously injured woman was nearby, so wee ended up staying the day with these people. this 27-year-old woman from honduras had broken her femur, and she had been left behind by her coyote. she said he had threatened to shoot her because he figured otherwise she was going to draw an even more painful death. she persuaded him not to shooti her but he left her behindexic overnight.e al and a mexican family came ander found her, and they were kind people, and they gave up their v trip, and they hiked out to the road and hailed down the border patrol. so that's what we were doing ouw there. but she was -- we hiked in with the border patrol with some
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difficulty, they got lost. [laughter] ran out of water, got lost. was really a rough day. and this woman was really suffering. was and i talked to her. i think i even held her hand as we hauled her out of there. thisnd was a knell human being n pain -- fellow human being in pain, and i tried to comfort t her, i gave her water, i just was a human presence at her side.t a the other people were medical people and doing a wonderful job saving her life, but i was the one talking to her. and then i went to see her a few days after that in st. mary's hospital, and she thought i was some kind of an angel. and i had to say, you know, i'm really a reporter, and i tried to explain, and i hoped she understood what i was doing, and she said, i'm going to remembere you my whole life. and that was something for me to hear. i don't think that reporters have to abandon their humanity.o i ended up buying crutches for that woman because the hospital, st. mary's hospital did her
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surgery on her, treated her for three orhe four days, but when n came down to giving her crutches and clothes to leave the hospital, that was against these rules for some reason. there was a very nice thrift store across the street, i toldo them the situation, they gave mi half price on the crutches and the clothes, and i don't think that that's a conflict for a reporter, i really don't. just as a human being. i told her story, and, you know, ito told it -- i feel i told iti compassionately, but when i wrote about it, of course, iote always talked to -- i wrote about the border patrol people,t i talked to the hospital people p i guess i don't really believe in that kind of really extreme objectivity. >> what about your take, sam?? >> yeah. i don't -- well, let me say this, one of the things ha dawned on me as time went by ini my career writing about a immigration from mexico was that if, if one of the most compassionate things you can do
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to -- for or with an immigrant from mexico is, as margaret said, listen to that person. because think about where that p person came from and why that person has to make that trip. do you know why that person hass to make that trip? t becausre back in that hometownme his father's not the mayor, not an attorney, nobody powerful. there's no family -- so all his life this man, probably his father, probably his grandfather, has been relegated, sent, you know, said that they are, they are not worth talking to or not -- their story has never been told. i had wonderful luck -- i don't think it was luck, basically, but i had wonderful luck going to small villages in mexico andg sitting down and talking toages people and say, hey, tell e me dour story. and they'd like at me like this strange guy, what the heck is he doing here, what is -- but then after a while you prove your interest, your compassion or your passion, rather, for their
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story, and that is something that is almost a revelation, i think, in a lot of people's lives. the story of delfino in myn second book, "antonio's gun," he was the poorest kid in town. his dad was a raging alcoholic. no one gave a damn about that kid. but he changed his town twice.ic he went to mexico city, you know, as a 12-year-old alone, construction worker. became a punk rocker, came back home to his village up in the mountains of vera cruz with as i big old mohawk haircut and a doe collar, and pretty soon all the boys his age wanted to go tos mexico city just like him, andcy that's what they did. and finally, mexico city afterly ten years of working hard gotye him zero, got him nowhere, he decided to come to the unitedm n states outside l.a. he builds this enormous house back home in the village, and
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all of a sudden, boom, all the kids are going to the united states. uni this kid was an enormously influential guy. no one cared about his story.gaa i spent years almost talking with him, visiting -- i've beeni to his town five time, talked with him up here, down there,me and i could feel particularly from him that what he fed on, what he loved, what made him, you know, feel like terrific is that some strange americanme wanted to know -- not only wanted to know his story for k like an hour, but over and over and over again wanted to talk to him finding out all he felt about different things in life,a his own place in it, his own place in the town, how his dadsw was an alcoholic, all that kindn ofd stuff. a i wanted to know it all. and he picked up on that. and i'll think, frankly, i don't think it's luck. if you go withth that attitude r if you went with that attitude because nowadays i don't think
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it's safe to do the kind ofon things i was doing down there. if you went with that attitude, people responded, you know?ind it's that kind of passion.ssio i'm not sure about the disinterest withed part of it all. i am definitely passionate abouy these stories. and i think people who havee st never been told that their stories are worth anything pick up on that and feed on that. >> okay, thanks a lot. >> could i say -- >> oh, please.lot >> i just want to say one thing. you know, it's not just a bunch. of poor people that live in mexico. we also have encountered, like,a one person i know that crossed the desert, i met him in-- i chihuahua city at a theater, and victor, who's one of the favorite play wrights of all of mexico, was presenting thisexi wonderful play, and this man was a ceo in a company there. he was in attendance that night, we gotta talking, and lo and behold, his life falls apart, l and he has to cross the desert too.
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so we've met all kinds of people, and there are all kinds of k people who come from mexic. >> important point. we have m about 20 minutes left. i'd like to invite you to comeft up to the microphones to ask some questions if you'd we've heard some pretty compelling things already thatty has to have generated some follow-up questions or other questions on your parts, ifw-up you'd like. so, please, come up to one of the two microphones, and maybe k if you direct your question to just one or two people to talk, that'd be great. sir, please. >> yes. three or four of you sparkedw th something in my mind. the arizona boarder and the tip of mexico is a long way, and you were talking about salvador and guatemala. what does the mexican government or the railroad do with these people who are riding on trains through mexico? that's a long ride. so what happens to these peopleg if they're discovered? can any of you want to answer? >> bun of the biggest -- one ofp the biggest problems they face
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is bandits. there are groups of bandits thas will attack them, in fact, there's a medical facility like a hospital clinic that is called casa de amputados for the ones who have fallen off the train. so the bandits will rob them and throw them off the train. the authorities, you know, if they catch them, they will send them back.ll s so they do not -- they are -- do not treat them favorably at alld >> last i heard, being an illegal immigrant in mexico was a felony, and you could be incarcerated, but i think mostly they're sent back. the cartels have seen these guys as new revenue stream. and so kidnapping immigrants and extorting more money -- they willnd have of paid a coyote don in guatemala or honduras or
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belize, ecuador, i've seen a lot ofcu that lately, folks from ecuador coming through, but thesefies will take them -- these guys will take them, particularly adept over on the texas side over there, you know, at kidnapping these guys. they see them as another revenus stream. you know, the coyote -- immigration phenomenon was once a very kind of like mom and pop business. you see, there were a lot of families who started in tijuana there's lot of families who -- everybody. houses in l.a., they'd take people all over. it's kind of a family business. every village pretty much has it own coyote. now it's a corporate kind of thing, and it's become really like the last five, ten years where you've got guys who -- the division of labor, some people are, their job is to take them p from this pointeo to that point. but one of the new phenomena that has cropped up lately is this, seeing them as a revenue e
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stream and charging more forr them once you kidnap them. essentially, kidnapping them in mexico and charging more for the folks down home. >> ma'am on the left. >> my question, actually, wastin similar. i work in the field offiel interpretation, and we're seeina requests for a number of indigenous languages of central america. and also of southern mexico.ica. and these are individuals, people who are coming fromha fairly remote areas, don't speak spanish, don't speak english,k and when we have an uptick in requests for languages like ha, we know -- like that, we know -- and i'm not privy to clients, but i'm assuming that it's coming from imtbraition.ming immigration. what happens to those people when they're turned back to mexico? because they, you know, speakers from guatemala and ecuador, guatemala in particular, it's a
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remote valley in the middle of e bunch of mountains. t their country is trying to take over their lands for ecotourism to control it through the goth. many of them have been evictedo from their lands. b you know, when they go back to mexico, they, they don't -- they can't speak the language in the mexico, and they're deported from here. whatco happens to those people?r and have you run across indigenous people in the stories that you've been witness to? >> yeah. yeah, well, that story ieen mentioned, that first story thai i ever heard about, those twoo menme were what happens is they don't get deported back to mexico, they get sent back to their homeuntr countries. if you're a mexican, you can sign this document of voluntary return, and you can be sent y back, you know, the next day, two days, three days. but this man that i met, forhis example, he was being taken up
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to florence where we have a detention center and to be held there for an indefinite period ofti time until they could get o together enough guatemalans, and he would be flown back to guatemala thinking being if you drop him off close, he's coming right back here.t and, yeah, a lot of people you see coming across arendig indigenous. you can go down to the courthouse in tucson, that's sort of a pilot program where 60 immigrants a day are charged in a criminal fashion and broughtcu into the federal most people are let go under tht voluntary return. but if you go down there, t y astonishing to see they're all indians. they're very small, very dark people, and they're in chains, leg chains and hand chain and they all plead guilty, and then they get sent back with a criminal record.they so, yeah. i think that a large portion of, the migration is indigenous, and
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primarily for economic reasons because those are the poor peoplepr down there. >> they're also, can i say that they're also treated in horribly by the mexican, northern mexican smugglers. there's a big kind of issue of racism in mexico that no one r talks about too much, but they look upon most people as a martians. not even the same country, you know? and my understanding is talking with law enforcement in arizona that the greatest amount of torture is perpetrated by northern mexicans who are the smugglers, you know? they're the guys holding the safehouses, safe drop houses in phoenix and what not on, on these, you know, folks from
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oaxaca, guatemala, places like that. >> we have a gentleman here who's been waiting for a while standing up. >> first, i have a comment for margaret, and be while you were. talking about whether the writer should show her compassion, immediately through me to nicholas christophe of the new york times. >> uh-huh. >> and that he has done this multiple times where he has intervened in the life to better the recipient on the other side. >> right. he wrote a wonderful column oneo time about he was in africa, and he said, i'm taking 50 of my best sour out to dinner. -- sources out to dinner.t to and it was a village in africa,l and he provided some kind of a i feast. was in journalism it's perfectly fine to take a congressman outgr
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toes dinner, right? s but it's not supposed to be okay to give a desperate migrant $20 which, i think, doesn't make sense. >> yeah. he's done that in numerous places all around the world.mero >> right, that's right. yeah. >> and then the other thing is i go east in the summertime, and my goal is to get together some kind of a venue where i canome gather people to talk about what the situation is here because so many misinformation and disinformation keys in regard -- exists in regard to migrants. and i thought i had it all set up last summer. and thanks to both you and the trio for having written because those were books that i intended to have in thisty course. discourse. >> let me interrupt you and see
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if this gentleman has a questiot question. i appreciate your comments though. did you have a question for thee folks or not?thou >> a my question is what could i do to increase the chances of these people having that opportunity? i called -- >> invite us.d. [laughter] >> there's no place to go. the this is martha's vineyard i'm talking about.d i' >> oh, we'd love to go. a [laughter]bo >> you know that. >> sir, let me interrupt you fon questions. >> all right. they're going to be at the signing -- >> okay. >> that would be the appropriate time to talk about specifics. >> all right. >> they do travel, they do talk to groups and love doing it and sharing their stories,in obviously. >> well, that had been my plan.. >> okay, well, that'd be great. hopefully, it'll work out. >> thank you. >> sir, do you have a question?o >> sure.
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where do you think we're headed if you were back here five yearw from now and you're on the same panel, what would you be talking about? [laughter] >> i would hope that at least crossing with the virgin would be a book that would be used as a reference material so that people would know what had happened over the last 15 years. i fear that it is only going to become more militarized and that there is going to be more violence and more suffering by my grants -- migrants that are crossing. >> thank you. >> can i say, also, that a lot of the response to your question depends on the government andou the cup of many mexico -- go country of mexico. there are major changes mexico need to make to provide opportunities for people downr e
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there that people are, they're forcing -- the lack of which are forcing people to come here. and that is a major issue. it's not brought up enough, i is believe. but if mexico, for example, continues to have the kind of public education system that it has today which is really dismal or if it continues to have the c local governance system that it has today which almost guarantees there's no economic development in the many areas, then you will see probably a lot of what you're already >> katherine? >> i would slightly differ about that. yes, of course, but also i think if you want to see big changes or we want to see change, that happens with you and with us. i've never seen so much hatred in my lifetime. is so much hatred. i go to the grocery store, i go
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anywhere, i go to other parts of the country, everywhere i go there is hatred. and if you don't stop it and if i don't stop it and they don't stop it, it's not going to stop. it doesn't matter what theot g governments do.op. t up to us, one person at a time, and get buzzy. >> thank you, katherine. do you have a question for the panel? >> i was really surprised in the book, and i don't have it with me so i've forgotten which one of you three wrote thatcula particular chapter, about in this town in mexico, this benjamin hill that they stoppedn through. with thawz yours, norma? -- was that yours, norma? would you just, in a few words, tell them -- were you as shocked as i was when you found out about it? >> i was -- actually, i was there about three weeks ago -- >> norma, let me interrupt you. why don't you tell the audience what she's talking about first. >> benjamin hill is a town in mexico, t about 60-100 miles south of the border.
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and this is a place where the trains meet and change, they change trains from coming from southern mexico going to either mexicali or no galless.cali so the trains leave tuesday, thursday and saturday, and you have migrants coming up from southern mexico and centralgran america. they camp in the fieldsentr overnight, and this little church has a breakfast ands serves them anywhere from 40-120 depending on the season and how many people are coming through. when we were driving down to mexico several weeks ago, as we -- before we got to benjamint hill,o the train had already left, and there were people on top of the train that we saw before you get to magdelena, yos can look over, and you're right parallel to the train tracks s. we saw the train coming by and the people on top of it. when they're in this little town, the women in the church have this bras


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